Shoes, considered ritually unclean in the Muslim faith, are left outside the door to the mosque when believers go in to pray. "The dirty and degrading implication of the sole of a shoe crosses all religious boundaries in the Middle East," says Martin Asser at BBC News. By extension, the throwing of a shoe conveys contempt — as famously demonstrated when an Iraqi journalist flung his at President George W. Bush during a 2008 press conference. With protests flaring in the Arab world, shoe-based protests have become increasingly common in countries like Egypt, Yemen, and Libya. Here's a look at how this practice has spread.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What is driving the increasingly weird behavior of the polar jet stream?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- Christians have no moral rationale for spanking their children
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Should you hope to die at 75? Absolutely not.
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 4 simple steaks you can cook in a pan
- Why America should team up with Bashar al-Assad's regime
Subscribe to the Week